So Poul-Henning Kamp thought this just a thought experiment …
In Fosdem2014 Poul-Henning Kamp talked about a hypothetical “Project ORCHESTRA” by the NSA with the goal of disrupting internet security: Information, Slides, Video (with some gems not in the slides).
One of the ideas he mentioned was the QUEEN program: Psy-Ops for Nerds.
I’ve been a contributor to the Freenet Project for several years. And in that time, I experienced quite a few of these hypothetical tactics first-hand.
This is the list of good matches: Disruptive actions which managed to keep Freenet from moving onwards, often for several months. It’s quite horrifying how many there are. Things which badly de-orchestrated Freenet:
Phew, quite a list…
I provided this because naming the problems is an important step towards resolving them. I am sure that we can fix most of this, but it’s important to realize that while many of the points I named are most probably homegrown, it is quite plausible that some of them were influenced from the outside. Freenet was always a pretty high profile project in the crypto community, so it is an obvious target. We’d be pretty naive to think that we weren’t targeted.
And we have to keep this in mind when we communicate: We don’t only have to look out for bad code, but also for influences which make us take up toxic communication patterns which keep us from moving forward.
The most obvious fix is: Stay friendly, stick together, keep honest and greet every newcomer as a potential ally. And call out disrupting behaviour early on: If someone insults new folks or takes up huge amounts of discussion time by rehashing old discussions instead of talking about the way forward - in a way which actually leads to going forward - then say that this is your impression. Still stay friendly: Most of the time that’s not intentional. And people can be affected by outside influences like someone attacking them in other channels, so it would be important to help them recover and not to push them away because their behaviour became toxic for some time (as long as the time investment for that is not overarching).
Overall it’s about keeping the community together despite the knowledge that some of us might actually be aggressors or influenced from the outside to disrupt our work.
The European Copyright directive threatens online communication in Europe.
But thanks to massive shared action earlier this year, the European parliament can still prevent the problems. For each of the articles there are proposals which fix them. The parliamentarians (MEPs) just have to vote for them. And since they are under massive pressure from large media companies, that went as far as defaming those who took action as fake people, the MEPs need to hear your voice to know that your are real.
If you care about the future of the Internet in the EU, please Call your MEPs.